A year ago we brought you the bad new that MINI USA would not just eliminate some manual MINI models from the line-up, but temporarily stop selling manuals altogether. But the key word is temporary as MINI’s already prepping for the option’s return.

Backing up for a moment, manual transmission production stopped in July of 2019 and was the result of more stringent emission certifications. More specifically, the delay is caused by calibration testing that was to take place later in 2019.

2020 MINI Convertible Sidewalk Edition

The Manuals Are Coming Back –
But Not to All MINIs

For the smaller MINIs (F55, F56, and F57) the manual transmission will return for March production. That will include all models from the Cooper to the JCW.

The front wheel drive Clubman and Countryman will get the manual option with July 2020 production. Unfortunately, MINI will not be offering the manual on most configurations moving forward of those cars moving forward.

Once it’s all said and done, MINI will be back to one of the most manual transmission friendly brands in the US. But there are some big losses as well.

Here’s the full list of what will and won’t ultimately be offered with a manual.

F54 Clubman

  • Cooper (Auto only for the US line-up)
  • Cooper All4 (Auto only for the US line-up)
  • Cooper S (June Production)
  • Cooper S All4 (Auto only for the US line-up)
  • JCW (Auto only Globally)

F55 Hardtop four door

  • Cooper (March Production)
  • Cooper S (March Production)
MINI 60 Years Edition Mini USA sales

F56 Hardtop two door

  • Cooper (March Production)
  • Cooper S (March Production)
  • JCW (March Production)

F57 Convertible

  • Cooper (March Production)
  • Cooper S (March Production)
  • JCW (Auto only for the US line-up)
Future mini range

F60 Countryman

  • Cooper (June production)
  • Cooper All4 (Auto only for the US line-up)
  • Cooper S (Auto only for the US line-up)
  • Cooper S All4 (Auto only for the US line-up)
  • JCW (Eliminated globally)

That’s a lot less manuals. To be fair take-rates were quite low on many of those models. How low? Here’s a full rundown on the percentage of manuals sold for each model over the last model year (we’ve bolded what models will continue to offer a manual for easy reference).

2018 MINI manual
take rates

F54 Clubman

  • Cooper / 3%
  • Cooper All4 / 8% 
  • Cooper S / 7%
  • Cooper S All4 / 9%
  • JCW / 22%

F55 Hardtop four door

  • Cooper / 6%
  • Cooper S / 10%

F56 Hardtop two door

  • Cooper / 11%
  • Cooper S / 17%
  • JCW / 41%

F57 Convertible

  • Cooper / 6%
  • Cooper S / 30%
  • JCW / 32%

F60 Countryman

  • Cooper / 1%
  • Cooper All4 / 6%
  • Cooper S / 0%
  • Cooper S All4 / 10%
  • JCW / 19%
JCW Clubman manual transmissions

Where does that leave us? Losing manual availability in this many models at once is tough as a MINI enthusiast. There’s a certain authenticity to any brand that still offers manuals and no one has offered more over the years than MINI. Furthermore not having a manual on the 301 hp JCW Clubman, Countryman and upcoming GP feels like an obvious miss given the would be take-rate of those cars.

Yet even with this change MINI still offers the largest percentage of models of any brand sold in the US with a manual outside of small volume sports car makers. And given the all out assault currently happening on small cars in the North American market, it’s fair to say that things could be much worse (as we’ve seen with other brands).